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AP aligns with school involvement

As a recent graduate of a Clark County school (Go Papermakers), I applaud the Dec. 31 editorial, “Kids these days,” on the Running Start program. I had friends who were successful in Running Start and gained both credits and skills that served them well in four-year colleges. However, I would also encourage students to look at the Advanced Placement programs. Not only are AP classes at least as intellectually engaging as college courses, but they allow students to have more of a holistic experience by staying more closely involved with their school. The best and brightest students deserve a challenging education, but ought to experience the wealth of activities in high school and use their talents to give back to their school’s community.

Like many AP students, I was involved in band, drama, student leadership, sports, and mock trial over the course of my high school career, and thanks to AP classes I ended up with three semesters of credit at a state university. Students should look at all the options, but AP classes are a great way to enrich education both in and out of the classroom and get the most out of their time in high school.

J. Jacob Marsh

Vancouver

Things learned in 2010

I learned that the Earth is not flat.

I have learned that most politicians are good honest people. Most. And the number keeps changing.

I learned that not all Democrats are looking out for my interests. I learned that not all Republicans are either.

I learned that not all reporters are honest news gatherers.

I learned that most still are, but not as many as before.

I learned that deep down inside people are good, and truly care about their neighborhood, city, state and country. And if push came to shove, pretty much everybody would drop whatever petty differences there were and stand shoulder to shoulder to face whatever may come our way.

I learned that for some it takes a push and shove about equal to a 7.9 earthquake during a level 5 hurricane to get them there.

Most importantly, I learned that the Internet and all that it holds, blessing to us it may be, is only two-dimensional. It has width and height, but without editing and human interaction that carries with it the nuances and subtleties of communication, it will always lack depth. And I have learned I am nowhere close to being done learning. May 2011 hold more of the same.

Rob Figley

Vancouver

Two acts of heroism stand out

The year just passed is hardly one studded with heroes in the older sense: a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds and noble qualities. The leadership of our country was particularly bereft of this heroic spirit. There are two who stand out, at least in my mind, as heroes: Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.

U.S. Army Pvt. Manning has been accused of the exposure, appropriation, or theft (choose your word) of government documents, which at the least are an embarrassment for a government based on hypocrisy and avoidance of the rules of law. His punishment, already commenced without the troublesome inconvenience of a hearing, is 23 hours a day solitary confinement.

The other hero is Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. Assange releases to the world documents “leaked” to his organization by whistle-blowers like Manning. His avowed goal is to make the world’s large organizations and governments more open and honest by exposing their dark machinations to an oblivious public. Whether the American public, cowed by a declining economy and illogical fears, and numbed by the circus that has become modern culture, is even capable of understanding, much less outrage, is yet to be seen. Regardless, the heroism of these two deserves our praise.

William Sterr

Vancouver

Uncover the beauty in politics

I recently jotted down names of the first prominent conservative women that came to mind, a couple of politicians and the others media types. They were Sarah Palin and Nikki Haley, Megyn Kelly, Monica Crowley, Ann Coulter and Tammy Bruce. Prominent liberal women selected in my same random manner produced the names of Hillary Clinton and Janet Napalitano, Joy Behar, Roseanne Barr, Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg. Being direct, articulate and charming defines most of these conservative women while the liberal women are, at least to varying degrees, known more for being evasive, strident and vulgar.

Does the unfortunate lack of physical beauty, perhaps even a little self-loathing, somehow lead some to follow the ideological path of liberalism? Is conservatism a manifestation of inner beauty that sometimes even displays itself as physical beauty?

During his recent Senate race, Nevada’s Harry Reid said he couldn’t understand how any Hispanic could vote Republican. Other notable Democrats have expressed similar puzzlement at how any black or gay could be a Republican. They seem to suggest that someone’s appearance should dictate their politics. If Democrats are correct, the time might be right for physically attractive members of all three groups to question their political beliefs and consider changing parties.

Pat McCarty

Woodland

Let’s be as diverse as our meals

If we can manage to get along with such diverse Christmas eve meals, as I polled among family and friends, there is hope for the world after all:

A seven fish dinner with chowder for my Rhode Island Italian friends.

A buddy had clam chowder, salad and garlic bread.

Turducken (Chicken inside duck inside turkey) for my chef friend.

My mailman had a vegan Thai dinner.

Sister — tacos, of course. Tater tots, chocolate chip cookies and peanut clusters (homemade).

A doctor friend splurged on deli foot-long turkey sandwiches.

Palm Springs friends had lasagna, Caesar salad and rolls.

A Jewish friend had traditional breakfast of Matzoh ball soup with chicken, bagels, cream cheese, lox, brisket and Matzoh brie.

A gym buddy had spaghetti, rice salad, pickled shrimp, homemade cookies, toast and dip, and homemade brew.

Sister, traveling in Spain, had tapas, salad, fried potatoes and red wine.

Gym trainer had peanut butter and honey sandwiches on the way to Mt. Hood. No surprise, he always eats that.

Local store clerk had two cheeseburgers after work followed by late-night Chinese dinner.

Me? Hotel warmed-up pulsa sausages, eggs, toast, beef ribs and fried potatoes.

PS: I’ll admit that most went back to traditional ham, roast or turkey dinner on Christmas Day.

Robert Henry Walz

Vancouver